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Briefing sheet

BIM Mandate and BIM in legislation: There is a BIM Mandate, how does it work?

03 March 2016

In this briefing sheet, author Barry Tuckwood, on behalf of the BIM Action Group, provides an explanation of the UK Government's BIM Mandate. This includes an in-depth analysis of each step of the mandate.

BIM Mandate and BIM in legislation: There is a BIM Mandate, how does it work?
The Dartford Crossing. Learn more about how the UK Government's BIM Mandate could impact future project delivery.


Building Information Modelling (BIM) is mandated for April 2016, but what does a mandate do, and how does it work? There are economic and environmental benefits from BIM for the whole asset cycle from concept through design, construction and the life of the asset. Hence there is a good reason for the systematic roll-out of the use of BIM, to make sure it is thoroughly taken up by industry.

What does this briefing sheet do?

This briefing explains how I see the mandate working. I could be wrong, but this is what this mandate seems to me to look like in practice. It outlines the 4 major points behind making the BIM mandate work.

BIM Mandate

Firstly, it is very difficult and time-consuming to develop formal legislation, and it is not always necessary to do so.; I have worked on other programmes with central government; none required primary legislation for them to be carried from concept, through pilots and early adopters, and rollout to become part of business as usual. This mandate is an example of how people and organisations can be encouraged to take on a major requirement, involving significant change, without the need for formal legislation through Parliament.

So without primary legislation, how could a mandate work? Here is a skeleton mandate, with some explanation of what each step achieves.

  1. Create a concept
    • Create an overview of the industry and where costs arise
    • Create an overview of where efficiency savings can be obtained
    • Generate a basic case
  2. Run pilots and demonstrate benefits
    • Run some pilots to demonstrate the real benefits for the client, in the public sector;
    • Capture those benefits and extrapolate, still within the public sector;
    • Provide convincing arguments; communicate these with the public sector and its suppliers;
    • Start with new build or major works which might be easier to deal with than a maintenance or refurbishment contract.
  3. Roll out to early adopters
    • Require government departments to include BIM when procuring construction work; this does not need primary legislation. It can be encouraged through a general policy determined by Treasury and/or Cabinet. Setting dates is helpful in providing targets.
    • This needs clear guidance on how to include BIM in contracts, and it does need clear processes for procurement.
    • Procurement processes should always include financial review.
      • For example, major new works such as a hospital would require review by the Department of Health and by Treasury.
      • Without approval, there is no funding.
      • If Treasury could not see BIM included, would they provide funding?
    • Use realistic figures. The target has to be achievable. Procurement of work at £50 million or over is a relatively small proportion of all construction;
    • This caters for major construction, set so that anything over £50 million requires BIM. But there is no lower limit;
    • So a mandate from central government for government departments reflects the policy of always including BIM.
  4. What else to consider?
    • Major industry, e.g. rail, is effectively included in the mandate
    • The whole supply chain adopts BIM
      • Main contractors have to include it
      • Main contractors encourage their suppliers to use it
      • Manufacturers adopt it in accordance with specifier
    • This makes it ‘more normal’ for BIM to be included
    • This leads to …
  5. Next steps - Adoption by:
    • local authorities
    • utilities
    • major companies (property developers for example)
    • smaller developers
  6. Business as usual
    • Including BIM is the new normal
    • BIM develops, and adoption of Level 2, Level 3 becomes part of continuing improvement


The major points behind making the mandate work are:

  1. The benefits have to be clear and convincing, for new build and for the whole asset management cycle
  2. Clients include BIM contractually
  3. Client funding approval requires BIM
  4. The process of adoption cascades and is client-led with encouragement from their advisers and suppliers.


  1. Government Construction Strategy 31 May 2011.

    The Government Construction Strategy is a policy paper issued by the UK Government that sets the target of reducing the cost of government construction projects by 15-20 percent “by the end of the current Parliament." One of the key initiatives is to mandate "fully collaborative 3d BIM [Building Information Modelling] by 2016."

    “This means that in two years, anyone involved with a government project in the UK will be contractually obligated to use BIM” (from Autodesk Usersgroup International October 8th, 2014 How small firms should prepare for the BIM 2016 mandate).

  2. news Friday 23rd October 2015 April 4th, 2016: Official date set for UK Government mandate
  3. bimcrunch.comWednesday 16th December 2015 BIM mandate for transport projects in Germany confirmed for 2020
  4. Infrastructure Intelligence21 October 2015 Government to launch new October 2016 stretch BIM target to validate data quality
  5. Infrastructure Intelligence 28 October 2015 Life beyond BIM Level 2
  6. David Philp, BIM Implementation, Cabinet Office BIM The UK Government Strategy BIM: Presentations from the Path to 2016 Implementation Conference was held by Glasgow Caledonian University on 4th October 2012.
  7. and a slightly different version: BIM The UK Government Strategy
  • Barry Tuckwood, owener at Barry Tuckwood Associates